Card: 1955 Bowman #250
Larry Albert Napp, born Larry Albert Napodano (b. May 21, 1916 in Brooklyn, NY, d. July 7, 1993 in Plantation, FL), was an American umpire in Major League Baseball who worked in the American League from 1951 to 1974. He officiated in the World Series in 1954, 1956, 1963 and 1969, and in the All-Star Game in 1953, 1957, 1961 (second game) and 1968, calling balls and strikes in 1961. He also worked the American League Championship Series in 1971 and 1974, serving as crew chief in 1974. His 3,609 total games ranked sixth in AL history when he retired.
Napp was born in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, New York and played as a catcher in high school and in the minor leagues from 1938 to 1940 in the Eastern Shore League, Pennsylvania–Ontario–New York League (PONY League) and Michigan State League. He also boxed professionally as a lightweight and welterweight from 1936 to 1938 and won the AAU lightweight championship while compiling a record of 38 wins and only 2 losses. A judo expert, he served as a chief fitness instructor in the Navy from 1942 to 1946 at United States Naval Training Center Bainbridge, Maryland and Staten Island during World War II.
Dreams of playing Major League Baseball or boxing professionally as a contender were swept away with the wartime interruption and the passing of time. Instead, Larry Napp became one of the great umpires of his era.
He began umpiring in the minor leagues in 1948, working in the Middle Atlantic League (1948) and International League (1949–50) before moving up to the AL.
Napp umpired in eight no-hitters in his career, and is one of seven umpires to have worked in two perfect games. He was the third base umpire during Don Larsen's perfect game for the New York Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1956 Series, and was at first base for Catfish Hunter's perfect game for the Oakland Athletics against the Minnesota Twins on May 8, 1968.
Among the other notable games he worked were Bob Feller's record-tying third no-hitter on July 1, 1951, Bobo Holloman's no-hitter in his first career start on May 6, 1953, Dean Chance's 2–1 no-hitter for the Twins against the Cleveland Indians on August 25, 1967, and Clyde Wright's no-hitter for the California Angels against the Athletics on July 3, 1970, the first no-hitter in Anaheim Stadium history; Napp called balls and strikes for the last two contests. Napp was also the home plate umpire for Early Wynn's 300th career victory as well as Denny McLain's 30th victory of the 1968 season (September 14).
In 1972, after Napp and Detroit Tigers manager Billy Martin had feuded for two seasons, Napp received death threats in Detroit. As a precaution, Napp was asked to sit out of two Detroit series in June of that year. The source of the threats was unknown. Tiger Stadium had been utilizing a sniper with a pellet gun behind home plate for part of that season.
In addition to his MLB Umpiring duties, Napp was licensed as a boxing referee and, despite being available only five months a year, was still considered a top-rated ref and assigned featured bouts at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
He married Italian Amercian Phyllis Tencza on March 19, 1942. They had one son, Larry Napp, Jr., who became a Florida high school baseball coach.
The Napps lived on Staten Island, NY from 1942 until they relocated to Plantation, Fla., in 1962, where they lived until Larry passed away from a heart attack, July 7, 1993. He was 74 years of age.
Larry Napp is part of the Military Service during Wartime Tour – go to the Next Stop
Larry is part of the New York City Born Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop
Larry is part of the Umpires Tour – Go to the Next Stop
See Larry’s baseball cards at TCDB
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